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Delete or merge a student or duplicate profile

You may have created an extra student profile accidentally, perhaps after importing a CTF or adding an applicant and not matching them to an existing student profile.

You can identify and resolve suspected duplicate records for:

  • student duplicates in preparation for DfE School Census (shown below)
  • guardian duplicates to improve communication to guardians and save costs on avoiding to send multiple text messages to the same guardians
  • staff duplicates in preparation for DfE School Workforce Census

Please note that once a profile merge or deletion has been carried out this cannot be undone, so be sure to carefully check the profiles you intend to merge or delete before carrying out the operation.


You will need the School: General Admin: Administer permission to merge or delete student profiles. If you don't have permission, you'll need to ask your admin team to give you permission using these instructions.

Merging or deleting duplicate student profiles

When the system has been able to identify a duplicate student, everyone with the School: General Admin: Administer permission (your admin team, Head Teachers and SLT by default) will see this in their to-do list.

To resolve the duplicate, click the item in your to-do list, or go to School > Data > Data Quality Dashboard and scroll down to Suspected Duplicates > Students.


Choosing whether to delete or merge duplicates

On the Suspected Duplicates page,  you'll see any pending, unresolved and resolved duplicates, and merge requests pending approval. Arbor colour codes the potential matches based on how many fields on both profiles are the same.



Click on a duplicate to decide how to merge or delete them. You can use the comparison table to help you decide which profile to keep. More guidance on which to choose can be found in the Which resolution should I use? drop-down.

You won't be able to delete or merge any students who have attendance marks logged on their profile:

  • If neither students have attendance marks, you'll be able to choose which profile to merge with the other or choose to delete one.
  • If one student has attendance marks, you'll only be able to merge the profile without attendance marks into the one with attendance marks or delete the profile without attendance marks.
  • If both students have attendance marks, you will only see the option to keep the records separate.

You won't be able to delete or merge a profile that has attendance marks.

If you need to delete any student's attendance marks to enable a merge or deletion, you can do this following these instructions



When merging, blank fields in the kept profile will be filled by information from the merged profile, and if conflicting information exists for a field, the information from the kept profile will be kept.

Click Resolve to implement the changes.    


Requesting to merge duplicate students

If you are choosing to merge a duplicate, this must be approved by another staff member in your school who also has the School: General Admin: Administer permission. Select which staff member you would like to request approval from, confirm your choice and click Request approval.

Please note: both you and the approving staff member must have an email address on their profile in order for the approval and resolution emails to be sent through.



You will then see a message that an email has been sent to the approver.

The merge request will then move to the Pending approval tab until it is rejected or approved by the staff member.



You cannot mark it as approved, but you can mark the request as not approved to reject the resolution, for example, if you selected the wrong one. Please note: this will not recall the email to the staff member.


Approving or rejecting a request to merge duplicate students

The staff member who has been asked to confirm or reject the merge will receive an email with a link to the duplicate, and a notification in Arbor.




They can then choose whether to approve the merge or not.



If they approve the merge, the profiles will be merged, the requester will get a notification and an email, and the duplicate flag will move to the Resolved tab.





If they do not approve the merge, the requester will get a notification and an email, and the duplicates will move back to the Unresolved tab.





Deleting student profiles

You won't be able to delete a profile that has attendance marks. If you need to delete any student's attendance marks to enable a deletion, you can do this following these instructions

Deleting an applicant who has never been enrolled

If the student is an applicant and hasn't been enrolled in your school (such as if they have deferred their place), you can delete them yourself from their student profile.

Type the student's name into your search box and hit enter to go to the Global search. Click the one that has a note of 'Applicant'.



On their student profile, select Enrolment from the left-hand menu, then scroll to the bottom of the page and click their application.



In the slide over click the orange Edit button, then click the red Delete Application and Student button.




Deleting a student who is not a duplicate

This process can be used to delete students before the end of the system-set data retention period.

We would usually only recommend deleting a student who never actually attended your school. For example if they never arrived and had attendance marks put in by mistake or there are duplicate profiles of existing students that you need to remove.

Step 1 - Wait until the censuses have passed

If you do wish to delete a student earlier, ensure that you are waiting until all censuses that would need to include this student have passed.

Step 2 - Examinations

Check if the student has been entered into any Examinations this academic year. If so, wait until the next academic year has started or you won't be able to delete them.

Step 3 - Remove any attendance marks

To delete a student, you'll need to make sure they haven't had any attendance marks recorded on their profile. If they do, you'll need to remove the marks using these instructions.

Step 4 - Delete the student

Scroll down to the bottom of their student profile to the Admin Function section and select Delete Student.



Select whether to also delete any guardians who are only linked to this student's profile, and confirm that you understand the consequences. You can then delete the student.





Can we delete profiles in bulk?

It is not possible to delete profiles in bulk from the Duplicates page. Profiles cannot be restored once deleted so it's very important you check a deletion is needed.

Can we merge profiles in bulk?

No, it is not possible to merge profiles in bulk. Profiles cannot be un-merged so it's very important you check a merge is needed for each potential duplicate that is flagged.

Why can I not merge or delete a profile?

You won't be able to delete or merge a profile that has attendance marks. If you need to delete any student's attendance marks to enable a merge or deletion, you can do this following these instructions

There are also three reasons why you might not be able to approve a merge:

  • If you don't have the School: General Admin: Administer permission.
  • If you aren't logged in to the school's site where the duplicates are.
  • If you're the person who requested the merge - only the person that was chosen as the approver can click the button to approve the merge.



Can we keep records separate in bulk?

Yes you can - just tick the boxes next to the profiles you want to keep separate. Click the Bulk action button to select Bulk set as 'Keep separate'.



They'll then show in the Resolved tab.



Student is a duplicate but isn't flagging as one

If you're sure that two students are duplicates but aren't being identified as duplicates, make sure only one has a UPN assigned, and that their names are identical.

Go to the student profile that has the incorrect name, and change their name to exactly match the name on the other profile.



If they're not flagging on the Data Quality Dashboard, be sure to check the Resolved tab to see if someone mistakenly chose to keep the profiles separate.



Can I undo the resolution I chose?

  • If you have merged or deleted profiles, this cannot be changed.
  • If you have chosen to keep records separate, you can change the resolution.

Click into the Resolved tab and select the resolved duplicates. In the slide over, you can then select a new resolution.


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